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European Equities Mixed as Automobile Manufacturers Edge Lower

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European equity benchmarks were mixed in early trade on Tuesday as car-makers edged lower and designer goods retailers advanced against a backdrop of declining oil prices and varied economic data.

In the UK, survey data indicated that weaker housing activity growth was weighing on the the country's construction sector while Spain, home to the Eurozone's fourth largest economy, recorded its biggest monthly increase in employment for March since its labor ministry began collecting the data.

The seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index, which is based on data supplied by purchasing executives in over 170 construction companies, dropped from 52.5 in February to 52.2 in March, to signal the joint-slowest upturn in overall construction output since the current period of expansion began in September 2016. Readings of 50 and above signal expansion while those below denote contraction.

In Spain, the number of people registered as employed rose by 161,752, or 0.9%, to 17.9 million people in March, marking the biggest monthly increase in the history of records at Spain's labor ministry. Compared to one year ago, the number of people registered as in work was up by 604,209, or 3.5%. The figures bode well for the country, as it has grappled with high unemployment levels since the financial crisis.

Oil prices meanwhile were slightly lower as the greenback gained traction. As a dollar-denominated commodity, a more expensive buck tends to make oil less affordable for international buyers. West Texas Intermediate, the main US oil benchmark, was 0.4% lower at $50.56 per barrel while Brent crude, the international oil gauge, was down by the same amount at $52.94 per barrel. The Dollar Index, which tracks the value of the US currency against a basket of other currencies, was 0.12% higher at the time of writing.

In equities, engineering company Rolls Royce Holdings led the gainers on London's FTSE 100 Index, up by 2.1%, followed by gold mining major Randgold Resources, 1.8% higher and Bunzl, which is engaged in the distribution and outsourcing service, trading 1.6% higher. Intertek Group, a provider of testing, inspection and certification services, was 1.2% higher.

On Frankfurt's DAX, car-maker BMW was 2.4% lower, followed by Deutsche Bank, down by 1.9% and Daimler, an automotive engineering company, 1.7% lower. Infineon Technologies, a manufacturer of semiconductors, was 0.7% lower. And, on Paris' CAC-40, Accor, a hotel operator, was 1.8% higher, media company Vivendi was up by 1.1% and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, a designer goods company, was 1.0% higher. Kering, which specializes in retail and luxury goods distribution, was 0.9% higher.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 Index was 0.12% higher, London's FTSE 100 Index was up by 0.54%, Frankfurt's DAX was 0.05% lower and Paris' CAC-40 was up by 0.04% at the time of writing.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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